In the past, finding an acceptable work-life balance seemed to apply only to young working moms who had small children. In recent decades, that has extended to young working dads, too. Now, work-life balance has become a significant factor in deciding whether to accept a new job for many workers of both sexes and all age groups.
This, of course, doesn’t apply to everyone. If your career is more important than anything else, and you don’t mind working as much as the young interns do on the hit TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy,” then finding the correct work-life balance is something you obviously don’t have time for right now.
But, for the rest of you, here are five factors to consider that might help you establish the proper work-life balance for you before committing to a new workplace.
- What Do You Want? You have to start here, and you must be honest with yourself. You must decide what’s important to you, how much of your personal life you’re willing to invest in a new job, and what factors need to be in place for you to be happy both at work and at home.
- Flexibility of Hours. How flexible are you and how flexible is your prospective new company? This is such an important factor in balancing your work-life situation. Determine if you’re a 9-5 person, want to work nights or weekends, or work some shifts at home. This one factor can make or break your decision.
- Your Presence is Requested! Factor in how important it is for you to work at home, travel within your job, be in the workplace all the time, or do a little bit of all three. Or do you want to be on call 24/7, while answering e-mails at 3 a.m. from your company’s overseas offices?
- Level of Responsibility. This one is important, too. Most often, the addition of more responsibility means the addition of more hours, more last-minute complications that only you can iron out, and more stress. You have to decide if this fits into your work-life formula.
- Check Them Out. When considering employment at a new company, do your homework. Determine how flexible the company is when it comes to all of the above factors (hours, flexibility, workplace presence, and responsibilities), how important work-life balance is to the company’s management, and whether any work-life provisions are currently in effect.
In the end, this is all about you, what you want, and how you want it! But, you must be prepared, and first decide how important a work-life balance is to both you and your prospective company before you take the plunge.